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Profile Autumn 2007 Newsletter

Life Line Saves Bird Flu Hit Firm

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(left to right): John Hearsey, Director at Bankwood Meats, and Jane Siddle from SYIF. 

South Yorkshire Investment Fund has thrown a life line to a Doncaster company affected by the bird flu epidemic in Suffolk.

Bankwood Meats, based in Thorne, prepare and supply cooked turkeys to the wholesale trade across the north of England.

However, following the bird flu outbreak earlier this year, the company saw sales drop by 40 per cent over night as the crisis began to affect all turkey businesses in the country.

Bankwood Meats is now on the road to recovery with business returning to normal, but Director John Hearsey, admitted that the £25,000 investment from SYIF in December, just before the crisis hit, proved to be a "god-send."

He said: "It has been a difficult time for the company, after what had been a really successful year for us. We are now recovering and getting back to normal."

Before bird flu Bankwood invested £12,000 of the SYIF money for a new packaging equipment, which has increased product volumes by 25 per cent and improved the appearance of their products.

John added: "We were planning to purchase even more equipment, but we had to use the money to assist with the working capital during that difficult period. We were lucky that the money was there to draw on.

"SYIF have been brilliant and gave their backing after recognising we were an investment opportunity. I am delighted they did. The future is looking brighter and cash-flow is now a lot more manageable."

Bankwood Meats, who operate out of a 5,000sq ft unit at Thorne Enterprise Park, supply the turkeys to specialist food shops, market traders and delicatessens.

In 2004 they received a £50,000 investment from SYIF to help develop the company and create ten new jobs.

Jane Siddle, Investment Manager for South Yorkshire Investment Fund, added: "Obviously this was unusual circumstances in which our investment was used. But we are pleased that it has helped secure the future of Bankwood Meats.

"The company was progressing nicely before bird flu hit, so I am delighted to hear business is returning to normal."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).